Sunday, December 1, 2019

Advent 2 Series A

Advent 2 Series A

Isaiah 11:1–10
Romans 15:4–13
Matthew 3:1–12

Stir up our hearts o Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds

By the Preaching of Repentance, We Are Prepared for the Coming of the Lord

John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent’” (Matthew 3:1–2). His preaching of repentance for the forgiveness of sins prepared people for the coming of Christ into the world. John’s work was historically complete with the incarnate advent of Jesus, but his vital ministry continues in preaching Law and Gospel. The Son of God has come in the flesh, “a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots” (Isaiah 11:1), and continues to bear the fruits of righteousness. His good tree of the cross is “a signal for the peoples” (Isaiah 11:10), by which He calls the nations to repentance. “With the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips” (Isaiah 11:4), He slays the wicked and brings the dead to life, making sons of Abraham out of lifeless stones. So also the “root of Jesse” comes to us, “even he who arises to rule the Gentiles” (Romans 15:12), that “we might have hope” and be filled “with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:4, 13).

The Baptism Preparer – Second Sunday in Advent,
December 8, 2019
(Matthew 3:1-12)
Rev. Dr. Daniel J. Brege

Some have accused Lutherans (and other Christians) of over-emphasizing the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.  As a preliminary defense, nearly every book of the New Testament speaks about Baptism. Even more so consider that when God introduced the Christ with His greatest prophet, He decisively chose to magnify a holy washing—a baptism.

It is obvious that John the Baptist was the way preparer for the Christ.  This fact was not only prophesied by Isaiah and Malachi, but it was attested by John as well: …for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel (John 1:31).  However John the Baptizer not only prepared the way of the Christ, he also prepared the way for Christian Baptism.  When the Savior instituted the wondrous sacrament of Holy Baptism, He did not do it “out of the blue”, for in John the Baptist’s God-ordained work there was a holy preliminary and precedent for Holy Baptism. By John’s Baptism of the multitudes in the Jordan River the Apostles were readied for Christ to institute His Church’s water-Sacrament at His ascension.  Though the Old Testament sacred washings as well as traditional Jewish washings magnified the concept of sacred washings, nothing prepared the Jews for Christian Baptism more than the baptism performed by John the Baptist.

It must be realized that Christian Baptism is not the same as John’s baptism.  Nonetheless as one observes the following differences between John’s baptism and Christian Baptism, one can also see that such differences have points of comparison demonstrating that John’s “lesser” baptism was preparing the way for the ultimate rite of baptism—the Sacrament of Holy Baptism:  John’s baptism at the Jordan was commissioned only to be done by John, the Son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, and it was only done in the Jordan River; Christian Baptism was instituted and commissioned for Christ’s Church, especially to be done by pastors, using any available water.  John’s baptism was to manifest Christ only to Israel; Christian baptism is for the nations, beyond the Jordan.  John’s baptism did not unite a person with Christ’s death and resurrection, partly because these salvific works had not been accomplished, however in Christian baptism people are expressly buried and raised with Christ.  John’s baptism had no power to endow with the Holy Spirit, but Christian Baptism is the foundational means whereby people receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. John’s baptism more or less ceased after John was beheaded (Other related baptisms, perhaps almost cultish in nature, seem to be referenced in the Acts of the Apostles.); Christian Baptism will continue as long as nations need to hear the Gospel.  When John baptized people they were considered followers of John who—verbally along with his appointed baptism—purposely pointed to the Christ; Christian baptism makes disciples not of John but only of Jesus Christ.

So what were the marks of John’s baptism that were nearly identical to Christian Baptism?  Both were/are baptisms linked to repentance, and both imparted/impart forgiveness of sins.  Both John’s baptism and Christian Baptism pointed to the Christ; granted, one pointed ahead and the other points mostly back in time.  Both were commanded by God.  Finally, both utilized water, as is the nature of sacred washings.

Indeed John the Baptist prepared the way for the Christ.  But we should also realize that John’s God-ordained baptism of penitents in the Jordan prepared the way for the Sacrament of Holy Baptism which Christ’s Church rightly treasures.

Matthew 3:1-12
John the Baptist Prepares the Way ~

Matthew 3:1
Ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις παραγίνεται Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστὴς κηρύσσων ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῆς Ἰουδαίας
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

Matthew 3:2
καὶ λέγων• Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Matthew 3:3
οὗτος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ῥηθεὶς διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος• Φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ• Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν κυρίου, εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ
For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'" 

Matthew 3:4
αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ Ἰωάννης εἶχεν τὸ ἔνδυμα αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τριχῶν καμήλου καὶ ζώνην δερματίνην περὶ τὴν ὀσφὺν αὐτοῦ, ἡ δὲ τροφὴ [c]ἦν αὐτοῦ ἀκρίδες καὶ μέλι ἄγριον
Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.

Matthew 3:5
τότε ἐξεπορεύετο πρὸς αὐτὸν Ἱεροσόλυμα καὶ πᾶσα ἡ Ἰουδαία καὶ πᾶσα ἡ περίχωρος τοῦ Ἰορδάνου,  
Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him,

Matthew 3:6
καὶ ἐβαπτίζοντο ἐν τῷ Ἰορδάνῃ ποταμῷ ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ ἐξομολογούμενοι τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν
and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Matthew 3:7 
δὼν δὲ πολλοὺς τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων ἐρχομένους ἐπὶ τὸ βάπτισμα αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς• Γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, τίς ὑπέδειξεν ὑμῖν φυγεῖν ἀπὸ τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς;
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Matthew 3:8
ποιήσατε οὖν καρπὸν ἄξιον τῆς μετανοίας  
Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Matthew 3:9
καὶ μὴ δόξητε λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς• Πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ, λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι δύναται ὁ θεὸς ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ
And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

Matthew 3:10
ἤδη δὲ ἡ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται• πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται
Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 

Matthew 3:11
Ἐγὼ μὲν ὑμᾶς βαπτίζω ἐν ὕδατι εἰς μετάνοιαν• ὁ δὲ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἰσχυρότερός μού ἐστιν, οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς τὰ ὑποδήματα βαστάσαι• αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς βαπτίσει ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ [h]καὶ πυρί•  
"I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Matthew 3:12
οὗ τὸ πτύον ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ διακαθαριεῖ τὴν ἅλωνα αὐτοῦ καὶ συνάξει τὸν σῖτον αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν [i]ἀποθήκην, τὸ δὲ ἄχυρον κατακαύσει πυρὶ ἀσβέστῳ
His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." – 

Why do church people need repentance? They need repentance…
1. IF they come as spectators of repentance. 
2. IF they fail to produce the fruit of repentance.  
3. IF they fail to produce the fruit of repentance.  
4. IF they trust only in church membership. 
THEN they face judgment.  

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

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